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This is a bit of an odd post but one I have had in my head that I wanted to share with you.  To explain I guess.

A long time reader left a comment on a post recently about my reviewing an expensive item and that made me stop and think.  Which in turn sparked my wanting to explain how I blog.  And what I blog about.    This is in no way a “dig” at them, they raised some valid points.  Points I didn’t want to address by simply replying to their comment as I wanted others to see it.   If they were thinking it, maybe other people are.

They remarked how they were not sure about reviews as us bloggers are sent things to review.  I get that.   The thinking being that we only say nice things simply because we have been sent them.  Maybe we are not honest.  Maybe we gloss over the flaws and just “blow smoke” because we have been sent the item for free.

I can assure you there are many threads on various blogging forums that start “How can I say I hated it”.    If I get something to review that I absolutely flatly detest I go back to the company and tell them I am going to be brutally honest and that I can’t find one redeeming feature.   If they say, please don’t review it, then I won’t.   Maybe that is wrong, maybe I should say I hate it.  But at the end of the day many of these companies are giving away products because they want a link to their website (this is a whole different blog post but in a nutshell) because it can boost their ranking in Google results.   It doesn’t matter that the link is within a damning review.   They still get bumped up the rankings.    I don’t want to give them the satisfaction if I hate their product.  So I don’t write it.

Though sometimes I have been brutally honest, look at the Foxtrot Oscar post.   That was a very frank review.

Sometimes bloggers are paid money to talk about something, again in exchange for that link being in a blog post.   Not sent a product but sent cold hard cash.  And that cash can be very attractive in some cases, in others not so much.   Offers start around £20 and whilst that can be attractive for simply writing one blog post it would mean that my blog is simply full of “paid for” advertising.   I turn down more of these offers than I accept.   Not because I think I am worth it but because I don’t want you to read it.

If I have accepted it then it is because it is something I think you might be interested in, or is something I can write around with humour.

I didn’t start this blog as a way to make money or to review things.   I started it because I had things in my head I wanted to get out.  I have an opinion on lots of things and since I don’t go out to work I can’t debate them over lunch.   I can’t stand in the office and share what happened at the weekend or the mad thing that one of the children came out with.    The opportunity to do that comes from this.  My blog.

It might not seem like it but I do think long and hard before I hit the publish button.  Is this funny?  Is this just yet another angry ranty post?  Is this another review?  is this about a TV programme I know nobody watches?    I do try to balance what I blog about on a weekly basis.   The Gallery post on  a Wednesday for instance, I try to not make it “just a picture” to go with the theme.  I try to write a story around it.   Silent Sunday I always try and pick a picture I think you will all like.   Ranty Friday I have tried to keep light hearted so it is not just me raging and might something that makes people smile, or nod, or comment to say they disagree.

I started my book club to try and get people talking.   And reading books they might not have otherwise picked up.   Trying to keep the content varied on my blog.

Both the book club and the ranty Friday posts are my trying to foster a community spirit, trying to get people to link up.  So that you might see a blog you haven’t seen before.  Driving more traffic to other blogs.  Reading other opinions.

At the end of the day having a blog costs money.   We have to pay to host it and to attend blogging events (travel is rarely included) so making money so our blogs pay for themselves is vital.    And also giving something back to my family is vital because they do see me hunched over a laptop writing blog posts or disappearing off for a day to an event.

If that means they get to share the chocolates, watch the DVD, get an overnight stay in a hotel, or a pair of slippers as a birthday present, then I will put my hand up when I see a PR email and say “who wants to do this”.

Hopefully the resulting blog post does come across in such a way as it doesn’t just read as “I got these / did this.  I like it.  You should buy it”.    Believe me that would be the easiest blog review to write and would take me minutes.   I spend a long time writing reviews and trying to make them a fun post to read.  And doing my own photographs for the majority of them.   Even if not all readers will want to buy the product somebody might.  Or maybe it is something that my children would never have normally got.  Like Ugg slippers that cost £100.  I make no apology for accepting that product and reviewing it on my blog.  I accept that it is out of the price range of most people, myself included, but I know that some people have gone on to buy them off the back of that review.

Whilst still trying to add a liberal dose of Barrow Towers to the blog mix.   I have twenty five blog posts all in draft at the moment, some review, some a throw away line that somebody has said that made me think “ooh I want to talk about that”.   Some might just be a headline, some are almost finished.   They all sit there and I tinker and then hit publish as and when.   Paying a lot of attention to what the post the day before might have been.  Trying to make sure there aren’t two reviews in a week, that there are more tales from Barrow Towers.

As I said at the beginning, this is by no means a dig or a rant.   The points that reader raised are valid and no doubt others of you are thinking the same.   So I just wanted to explain a little bit

Normal nonsense will resume tomorrow.

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